Race Weekend Central

Kurt Busch Leads Opening MENCS Practice in Texas

Kurt Busch led the first practice session for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams at Texas Motor Speedway Friday (April 6) afternoon with a 196.200 mph lap.

Stewart-Haas Racing swept the top three positions with Busch’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, who won at the 1.5-mile oval last November, second-quickest. Clint Bowyer, who broke a 190-race winless streak at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago was third-fastest. Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

Denny Hamlin was sixth-fastest, followed by Chase Elliott. Brad Keselowski turned the eighth-fastest lap of the session, followed by the fourth SHR driver in Aric Almirola. Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 10.

Less than halfway through the session, William Byron sat inside the car in the garage while the crew diagnosed a potential engine issue. Following an evaluation, the No. 24 team determined the problem required an engine change.

“We’d make a couple of laps and then have some engine trouble,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. “So we’re just working through that.

“We really needed some practice time. We’ll kind of rebound from that and hopefully be able to make a lap in qualifying and see what the balance is.”

Byron will still have two opportunities to get the No. 24 Chevrolet on the track Saturday as the series runs a pair of practice sessions. The first will be held from 11 – 11:55 a.m. CT, while the second will run from 1:30 – 2:20 p.m. ET.

MENCS teams will qualify for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at 5:45 p.m. ET.

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